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Chiefs worry over e-voucher

FARMERS in a maize field.

CHRISTINE CHISHA, Lusaka
TRADITIONAL leaders in Eastern Province have expressed worry over the continued delay in farmers accessing farm inputs through Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) e-voucher system.
The electronic voucher system was recently introduced as a pilot programme, but has been affected by many hitches, leaving many farmers without the vital component to grow maize.
In separate interviews, Senior Chief Madzimawe and Chief Chanje said food security is now under threat in the province due to the delay in accessing the inputs.
Chief Madzimawe said over 80 co-operatives in his chiefdom have not yet received fertiliser under the programme, while in Chief Chanje’s area, many farmers, including the chief himself, are yet to have their e-voucher cards activated so that they could access the inputs.
Chief Chanje said many farmers in his area, which is one of the most productive in the province, have to spend days in Chipata town trying to have their cards activated, but many are coming back without any success.
According to Chief Chanje, about 40 co-operatives in his area are yet to receive fertiliser.
Chief Chanje said the rainfall has been favourable so far, and the area would have had a bumper harvest if the inputs were distributed in good time.
And Chief Chanje appealed to the Tobacco Board of Zambia to quickly pay farmers in his area who sold tobacco to the board last year.
And SHIKANDA KAWANGA reports from Livingstone that the District Co-operative Union has commended Government for the successful distribution of farm inputs under FISP, saying the delay did not affect farmers.
Chairperson Rwinick Mapanza said farmers in Livingstone will have a good harvest despite the delay.
Mr Mapanza said in an interview yesterday that all farmers who applied for FISP were considered and they have received their inputs.

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